Ryan Braun is being sued by a longtime friend. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is being sued by a longtime friend.
Ralph Sasson, 29, claims Braun made defamatory statements about him to undisclosed parties and suggests that Braun, while at the University of Miami, committed academic fraud and accepted money, ESPN reports.
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Sasson, who describes himself as a law student, says he was contacted by Braun's agent, Nez Balelo, in November 2011 after Braun was notified that he had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Part of his assignment, the lawsuit says, was to conduct background research on the man who collected Braun's urine sample, Dino Laurenzi Jr.
The lawsuit says Sasson was forced to threaten Braun and Balelo with a lawsuit in order to recover $5,000 that he says was promised, and that he was paid last year when he agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But Sasson charges that Braun violated that agreement when he made what Sasson calls defamatory statements about him to undisclosed parties. Sasson asks for unspecified damages in the complaint.
The lawsuit also says that Braun asked Sasson to "prank call" ESPN "Outside the Lines" reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada, who was working with reporter T.J. Quinn on a story in December 2011 that Braun had failed a PED test. According to the lawsuit, Braun wanted Sasson to say, "the original information Quinn and Fainaru-Wada had obtained regarding Braun was part of an elaborate conspiracy to assassinate the character of multiple baseball players and agents including, but not limited to, Ryan Braun."
Sasson says in the lawsuit that he refused.
Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, is currently serving out a 65-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis of America clinic.